The life and times of one of the great performers of the 20th Century are brought to life in this restless, glamorous, fabulous all-ages show.
How do we talk to children about race? Taking its inspiration from a half-remembered children’s picture book about the astonishing life, times and achievements of Josephine Baker, this all-ages show takes on the challenge with charm, power and passion. Years in the making, delayed in coming to stage, this show explodes with the pent up need to tell a story that feels sometimes forgotten, that of the legendary singer, dancer, entertainer, sometime spy and toast of Paris - Josephine Baker.
Ebony Feare glitters and pops as the irrepressible star, returned from beyond the grave to stop the memory of her career fading away. When she steps into the ailing Café Josephine, run by firebrand Marie (Sadi Masego - poppy and pugnacious) and her charming and easy-going brother Jack (a wonderful Jack Benjamin, morphing through roles as they drift through the decades), she shakes loose a wild tumble of scenes from a life that stretches out across the 20th Century. Refracted through these three viewpoints, the complexity of Josephine Baker’s life and achievements is brought to life with kindness and charm, all accompanied by her toe-tapping tunes and famous dances (gently and respectfully reconsidered for an all-ages audience).
The pattern of three viewpoints on the story allows for historical context and critical consideration. But you don’t need to be studying the topic to enjoy the show. There is entertainment enough in the life, music and dances of one of the first great superstars of the modern age to keep show and audience buzzing and popping. There is so much material in the life of Josephine Baker that at times the show feels more like notes towards a musical, or even a miniseries. Certainly, there is entertainment enough, and great joy in the celebration of the life of a ground-breaking, world-shaking entertainer par excellence.
Josephine and the Josephine Learning Portal are suitable for ages 7+ and booking now for schools performances. See the show at the Burton Taylor all this week.
See https://www.theatreroyal.org.uk/josephine/ for more details on the Josephine Learning Portal.